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New Times / News

The following article was posted on August 14th, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 28, Issue 3 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 28, Issue 3

SLO City LEDs the way to streetlight efficiency

BY MATT FOUNTAIN


BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT
New energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LED) lamps, such as the one pictured here, will be up and illuminating streets and sidewalks across the city of San Luis Obispo, thanks to a super low-interest loan from the California Energy Commission.
PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER

By the end of August, city residents will find the nighttime streets of San Luis Obispo a little brighter, and the future a little greener.

Thanks to a public-private partnership approved by the City Council in December, the city is now replacing its antiquated fleet of high-pressure sodium lamps with brighter and more energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.

The change is expected to save the city close to $1 million a year, the equivalent of 778,710 kilowatt hours, as well as an annual reduction of roughly 408,050 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Last year, the city applied for a California Energy Commission loan to have Pacific Gas & Electric workers replace existing lamps with the new LEDs.

The overall cost for the actual replacement comes to approximately $1.1 million, but the city’s projected energy savings—estimated at about $99,000 a year in lower rates—will be used to pay back that loan to the CEC over the course of some 13 years.

“This is a great deal,” city engineer Barbara Lynch told New Times. “And it affects everybody.”

San Luis Obispo is the only city in SLO County to have taken advantage of the CEC program, although the nearby city of Santa Maria recently commenced replacing its lights under a similar deal with PG&E and the CEC.

According to Lynch, crews began replacing the lights in early July and will be finished by September.